27 March 2015


one. Formerly of DC and now Berlin-based, I LOVE Jessika Tarr's work/now I have to scout out this mag: Jessika Tarr on EATERS Magazine, Berlin Bars, and the "Big Salami," at MOLD.

two. I dug this Richmond, VA home tour at Design*Sponge this week.

three. How fun is the @FoundPalettes feed?

It was disgusting and grey all morning but it looks like the sun MIGHT POSSIBLY be coming out, which bodes well for the weekend. I'll be checking out this art show and probably GOING TO THE ZOO! How's that for PMA? Enjoy the weekend, everybody – back on Mondayyy.



26 March 2015


VERY happy to be hosting (and leading!) the first workshop presented by the newly launched Starchild Studios. Its founder, Ayana Zaire, was my intern last year and I have huge love and support for her latest project: Starchild is a co-working + creative agency concept that she's working towards, and its intentions to grow, foster, and connect young, creative DC are right up my alley. Ticket sales for Workshop 001 go towards funding the project, and I'm stoked to share my thoughts and experiences in having turned my side projects into my full-time career next Saturday at the Wild Hand. Tickets are just ten bucks and we're keeping it small – hope to see you there!



25 March 2015


A Creative DC is a weekly series showcasing all aspects of a creative lifestyle in the District. The city's full and part-time doers and makers, how + where they live, gather, and create, and what they do, make, and notice. For more about the project click here. Follow along here at Panda Head and at @aCreativeDC on Instagram, and hashtag your own DC lifestyle with #aCreativeDC. Your life looks good here.

One of the pillars of the A Creative DC project is that creativity is so much larger than just "the arts," and also that side projects, hobbies, and interests are as valid and as deserving of acknowledgment + support as full time hustles and self-employment. That said, DC's growing creative economy is allowing – much more so now than in years past – for those who ARE compelled to make the leap from more traditional employment the ability to hammer out an actual and viable career.

In that vein, I'm thrilled to introduce fashion + portrait photographer Emma McAlary in the context of the A Creative DC series. I count her as a personal friend and have worked with her more than once, and in the interview below she's done an honest and very real job of outlining of how her career path became apparent and what it took (and is taking) to get there – "there" being financial sustainability. It's a valuable read for anyone considering going a similar route, and an interesting one regardless of whether your own creative DC involves making portraits, throwing dinner parties, or just showing support for any and all of its million and one facets.

"I'm Emma McAlary and I'm 29. I grew up in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and I live in Alexandria, VA. I'm in DC almost daily – at least 5 out of 7 days of the week. Most of my meetings, clients and projects are located in DC. It's my stomping ground!"

When did you get started taking photos?
I've been snapping photos of everything since I was a kid and my sister handed down a blue Fisher Price camera to me. I was always heavily influenced by my Dad's collection of photographs, and he gave me all my grandfather's old cameras. Photography is something I felt I had to do. I have so many random pictures of everything including friend hangouts, weird objects, strange landscapes. I must say that looking back on those early photographs is hilarious beacause they are so bad! In high school I took the obligatory photography classes and fell in love even further. I always denied that it could be a career, so I kept photography in my back pocket as a hobby and went on to school for other things.

And when did you make your first moves towards being a full-time photographer?
I've made small moves towards this point for the past couple of years, but my big moves came at the end of last year. The previous year I'd quit working at my full time job and I traveled. I was in a long distance relationship so it afforded me an opportunity to just travel and take pictures. I kept a part-time job and just started shooting for people that I met. I did a bunch of free and cheap stuff at first, just to get my name out there. People knew people and starting saying "Hey, I know a photographer named Emma McAlary." At the end of last year paying jobs starting coming and it has grown ever since. I still have a long ways to go, but it's been such an exciting growth.

Who are you working with on a regular basis?
The two clients I work with most are DeNada Design and Monling Lee for her Color Index project. Another client I work with often is Redeem and we just collaborated with Monling. I can't wait to share those pictures with the world! I've also been doing a bit of work as part of the El Camino team and I've worked with Mutiny several times. A new, more recent client that I've been working with is DC Style Factory.

More with Emma – including how she deals with self-doubt and her advice to young photographers – after the jump. All photos Emma McAlary, for various clients.

Read more »


24 March 2015


In attempt to combat BUSY, I've been making myself slow down a little bit in the mornings. There's usually a chunk of the week that involves early coffee + breakfast meetings, and those days are/always will be a mad rush (I've made a solemn vow to myself to never leave the house again without having spent time with an eyebrow pencil; my socks may not match but I WILL try to show up with fleeky eyebrow game). Other days, though, I've got some leeway.

My client work usually doesn't start until around lunchtime, and I'm able to spend mornings on A Creative DC, on Panda Head blog posts, and attempting to catch up on email; I'd be lying if I said these hours were always relaxed (ever. I'd be lying if I said they were ever relaxed), but I've noticed that the rest of my day goes way better if I make myself a POWER BOSS breakfast.

It varies each time but involves whatever vegetables are currently living in the fridge (the kale and mushrooms, on this particular day, came from Each Peach), egg whites, and some sort of apple + peanut or almond butter combo (an aside: the bulk of the damage to that jar of Big Spoon Roasters was done spoonful by spoonful, sans apple vessel. It's that good). See also: COFFEE, and if we've got it, a juice sitch. There's a handful of amazing juice companies worth supporting in DC right now so I'll rotate depending on what neighborhood I'm in when I've got the urge to grab; that green-green a few images up is just straight cucumber juice from Purée.

Lunch doesn't always happen, and while I'm slowly attempting to become one of those snack ladies whose tote bag overfloweth with almonds and the like, a lot of times ^^^ will need to get me through til like 8PM, and frankly, IT DOES. That said, Bizarro Morgan is big into smoothie bowls (I MEAN) and stable blood sugar levels. DARE TO DREAM.



23 March 2015


Thursday with Contrario; Saturday morning, post-sleepover with our niece (FYI, she's slow-dancing with Goofy while watching Cinderella, so, you know – TEARS); and Saturday night at Nomad Yard for Dinner Curated, a soon-to-be-launched event series from DC stylist Alison Beshai. Great weekend, great people (and that's to say nothing of Sunday's Photo Styling Workshop – more on that later!).